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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: BuildingmyFIRE on February 26, 2018, 01:56:58 PM

Title: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: BuildingmyFIRE on February 26, 2018, 01:56:58 PM
Do you own an instant pot?  Do you love it or hate it, and why?  Does it save you time?  money?  anything else?  What do you make it in?  Why is it Mustacian?

If you recommend it, do you recommend a certain model (or recommend AGAINST a certain model). 

Thanks!
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Greyweld on February 26, 2018, 02:34:08 PM
I love my instant pot. It saves me a lot of time, because I typically would saute something and have to hover over it the whole time it cooks, rather than dumping everything in and going to read for 10-30 minutes while it cooks. I'm likely to save money because I won't go get a freezer dinner or food out when it's actually faster to throw in some rice, some broth, spices, and just whatever meat/veggies you have lying around and push a button.

The advantages are similar to a slow cooker, which is also a set it and forget it type kitchen device. But I prefer the instant pot.

-It can cook meat from frozen to cooked safely in under an hour. This is important to us, because we freeze a lot of meat when we find it on sale, and we don't always remember to thaw it before we need it.
-It can cook dry, unsoaked beans in well under an hour.
-90% of mornings, I am not going to do work for a meal that is over 10 hours from the present, especially when I have to make my carpool. So even though a slow cooker has similar advantages, I just won't use it usually.
-It seems like it tenderizes cheap, tough cuts of meat really well.

I don't know much about the models. Based on the pictures, I think I have a Duo 8-quart. No issues so far. I've only had it for just over a year, so it might not exactly be a buy-it-for-life situation.

If you live at high altitude, you may need to increase the liquid content and time for recipes slightly.

Honestly, I tell everyone to get one. Especially if they say they don't have time to cook or are bad at cooking.

Things I've made:
-Jambalaya
-Jamaican rice and peas
-Thai Curry
-Tikka Masala
-A whole chicken
-Flan
-French Dip
-Pulled pork
-Gumbo
-Soup
-Refried beans
-Soooooo much rice
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: CheapskateWife on February 26, 2018, 02:43:07 PM
I tell people that it isn't really an "instant pot", but is more of a "put it all in there and forget it pot".  I can now cook rice without making a mess on the stove (quit looking at me like that) and have expanded into some Indian dishes that have turned out divine.

I asked for the instant pot thinking of our coming RV travels...the gas cook top adds a great deal of heat to our living space, and when traveling in the summer in the south, this is most uncomfortable.  I have a smaller pot (3 qt) and find it appropriate for whipping up a batch of brown rice (first) and then a nice tikka masala or a batch of butter chicken, without adding ambient heat into our RV.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: GizmoTX on February 26, 2018, 02:47:35 PM
We bought our first Instant Pot in 2013. I initially discovered it while researching a possible slow cooker for DS' first apartment in college, & was excited to discover that just one small appliance could do much more while occupying less space. We experimented with it over the summer, & when DS took it off to his university, we bought another one to replace it. It gets used multiple times a week as a rice cooker, vegetable steamer, egg cooker, pressure cooking main & one pot meals, yogurt maker, popcorn maker, stock maker, & to reheat things like soups, stews, & chili.

The 6 quart DUO Plus is the current model I now recommend for most users. Unless you know you will never cook for more than 1, the 5 quart is too small. Pressure cookers can only be filled halfway, so a 6 qt just has the capacity of 3 qt. Instant Pot now makes a 8 quart model for large recipes so you may want this if you have the need & room. It also makes a 3 quart model but this is best IMO as a secondary pot for rice & vegetables. Instead, we have an additional inner pot that can stay warm on a stovetop or oven while using the IP for another recipe. Instant Pot still sells its older model called the LUX which doesn't have the yogurt or sterilize functions, which are very specialized -- DS has this model. It is simpler & usually sells for less than the DUO. There is an expensive model that communicates wirelessly with a smartphone & allows you to program multiple steps, but this is overly complicated. Finally, there is now a model that looks rectangular like a slow cooker & cannot do pressure cooking -- this is the one with the overheating warnings & I don't recommend it since pressure cooking is the main reason I use an Instant Pot.

The many program buttons on the IP scare some initial users, & they're overkill IMO. I mainly use the Manual button (labelled Pressure on the newer cookers), the Keep Warm/Cancel button, & the Saute button to brown foods before pressure cooking (depends on the recipe). The Rice button is different than all the others in that it does calculate cook time depending on the weight of the rice being cooked -- all other button times are suggestions that can be overridden. I rarely use the IP as a slow cooker because I prefer the intensity & speed of pressure cooking.

We've given numerous Instant Pots as wedding & houseguest thank you gifts, usually accompanied with a collection of our own favorite IP recipes. It's not 'instant' but being able to set it & forget it until done is a great help to beginning & experienced cooks. 
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: ketchup on February 26, 2018, 03:15:09 PM
I have a six quart model, and I love it.  I made three gallons of stock in it this weekend, and a frozen turkey breast last week.  I've also made short ribs, chili, soups, artichokes, "baked" potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and all kinds of fun insanity.  Rice cooks fast and perfectly in it too.

I would recommend it to a friend!  This and my immersion blender are the only real "kitchen gadgets" that I have and actually use regularly.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: katsiki on February 26, 2018, 06:48:29 PM
We have had one for about 8 months.  I use it almost every week.  It's great.  It is the perfect crockpot/slow cooker.  Recipes that take 4 hours in the crockpot take 30 minutes.

We have this one ( Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer ).  We got it on sale for about $100 on Amazon.  It retails normally for more.

Tons of great, easy recipes online (and in the instant pot thread here!)
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: stashja on February 26, 2018, 07:29:29 PM
We have one. We use the pot in pot method and can make a 2 course dinner in 2 Pyrex dishes with 10 minutes prep time and 2 minutes cleanup time. We have no dishwasher, so cleaning only the Pyrex is brilliant. Also, everything we have made thus far has been vegan, which is a new thing for us. The instant pot is making it easy. (Dry chick peas to jalapeńo hummus with 5 minutes prep?!) also cheap. Today’s dinner for 2 = maybe 50 cents total cost, plus a butternut squash from the garden.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on February 26, 2018, 07:30:47 PM
You could probably save some money by getting a crock pot, a pressure cooker, and an egg timer at a garage sale. Would probably work just as well too.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: bogart on February 26, 2018, 08:16:15 PM
I bought a small one (3 qt) off Craigslist, and overall, I like it very much.  It definitely makes things better and faster than a crockpot, and can cook lots of stuff with relatively little attention.  I even/especially like it for simple stuff like rice and hard-boiled eggs (not together!) because it comes much closer to set-it-and-forget-it than any other tool I know for cooking these products.

My DH gets wildly grouchy about leftovers (ridiculous, but true) and for our family of 3, the 3-qt. pot is about perfect for making a meal-sized, well, meal, with maybe enough left over to be one day's worth of lunch for me. 
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Plugging Along on February 26, 2018, 09:44:04 PM
You could probably save some money by getting a crock pot, a pressure cooker, and an egg timer at a garage sale. Would probably work just as well too.

Sadly to say, i had a crock pot, pressure cooker, egg timer, rice cooker, etc, and the instant pot is still well worth it.  Because the the instant pot has sensors it I still much safer for a pressure cooker, and everything can be done all at one.  You do all of the things in seperate applicants but it takes longer.

I gave away  my pressure cooker after i got my instant pot because the results are so much better.  Also, because of the safety feature I have had my 12 year old  able to help me cook dinner.    I can have her sauté all the ingredients without worrying about them catching on fire 9r burning, then add in the rest of the stuff and pressure cook. 

I love my instant pot.  I use sometimes twice a day almost every couple of days.   
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: englishteacheralex on February 26, 2018, 11:12:27 PM
We've had ours for a little more than a year and it's truly an essential kitchen appliance for a dual income couple. We almost never get takeout anymore.

I was the crockpot queen for many years and I gave my crockpot away because Instant Pot is superior. I hate unnecessary crap--we are four people in an 850 sq/ft apartment and the kitchen is pretty small. Instant Pot earns its keep.

Highly recommended.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: BuildingmyFIRE on February 27, 2018, 06:59:12 AM
We've had ours for a little more than a year and it's truly an essential kitchen appliance for a dual income couple. We almost never get takeout anymore.


This is my situation exactly.  When you only have two hours at night to get everyone fed, cleaned, in bed, and ready for the next day, cooking a full meal on the stove top -- which you have to babysit -- is a near impossibility.  I've made some great things in the crockpot, but it takes too long to do anything at night on a weekday.

Thanks for all of the feedback.  I think I'm going to get one.  If it prevents me from caving and getting pizza for dinner more than five times, it will have paid itself off.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: boarder42 on February 27, 2018, 07:15:42 AM
i love it roasts from frozen to cooked in around 2 hours fall apart tender. 
yogurt
beans from dried to cook in under an hour. 
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: NextTime on February 27, 2018, 07:26:30 AM
You won't regret it.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: brute on February 27, 2018, 07:40:13 AM
We've got a 6 quart instant pot that we use a couple times a week. We do a lot of chili verde in ours, just toss it all in and hit go. Granted, we blend the veggies after the cook, so sorting the pork out and blending takes some more dishes and time, but not more than a couple minutes and it's better than we've had in any restaurant
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: boarder42 on February 27, 2018, 09:11:37 AM
We've got a 6 quart instant pot that we use a couple times a week. We do a lot of chili verde in ours, just toss it all in and hit go. Granted, we blend the veggies after the cook, so sorting the pork out and blending takes some more dishes and time, but not more than a couple minutes and it's better than we've had in any restaurant

chile verde recipe? @brute
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: netskyblue on February 27, 2018, 09:20:36 AM
Following because I'm considering one but it's kind of a hard sell for me.  I don't mind making rice, veggies, soups, etc on the stove.  I probably prefer it, actually.  (Part of that is deep suspicion that something could cook food hands-off as well as I can do myself).

We do make a roast and/or carnitas once or twice a month in the crock pot, which is 16 or 17 years old and kind of flaky about working... It will need a replacement at some point.  I also make stock in there.  But that's about all it gets used for.

I *have* a pressure cooker (just an aluminum pot one, not electric), it was a gift, and I think I've used it once.  I use my enormous pressure canner for canning, but not for cooking.

Does the crock come out and have a lid?  I normally prep my roasts beforehand and put the whole full crock in the fridge until I'm ready to pop it in the machine and plug it in.  But unless I can get it done inside an hour, I'm not sure it's going to work out well for us.  I use the crockpot so I can put food in in the morning, and have it ready when I get home at 6:00.  If I've got to wait another two hours, that's pushing dinner way too late.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: brute on February 27, 2018, 09:24:33 AM
We've got a 6 quart instant pot that we use a couple times a week. We do a lot of chili verde in ours, just toss it all in and hit go. Granted, we blend the veggies after the cook, so sorting the pork out and blending takes some more dishes and time, but not more than a couple minutes and it's better than we've had in any restaurant

chile verde recipe? @brute

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/03/easy-pressure-cooker-pork-chile-verde-recipe.html

Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: LostGirl on February 27, 2018, 09:43:41 AM
I got one last year to replace my ancient stovetop pressure cooker.  If you want a lower barrier to the pressure cooker entry, just get a stovetop pressure cooker and see if you like it. Then you can graduate to an instant pot.  We are not huge IP converts (my DH still wont use it) but its handy.  Note that it is MASSIVE and we have to keep ours on a garage shelf. If you have a small kitchen its something to keep in mind.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Zola. on February 27, 2018, 09:44:26 AM
is an instant pot a slow cooker?
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: netskyblue on February 27, 2018, 09:52:29 AM
is an instant pot a slow cooker?

It's an electric pressure cooker.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: NextTime on February 27, 2018, 10:10:21 AM
is an instant pot a slow cooker?

It's an electric pressure cooker.

But can also be used as a slow cooker.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: mm1970 on February 27, 2018, 10:22:02 AM
I love mine, and I also have 2 pressure cookers.

At first, mostly used it for beans, occasionally rice.

But then I branched into soups.  And then I bought this book:
https://www.amazon.com/New-Fast-Food-Pressure-MInutes/dp/0976708515

(It's vegan, FYI.  I'm not.)
Every recipe has been fantastic.

I use the Instant Pot at least 3 times a week.  Mostly 2x on the weekend to make big pots of things.  We eat a lot of leftovers.  Then once mid-week for one pot pasta, or mac and cheese, or ???  I need to branch out and find some good meat dishes.


In December, we evacuated from our home 2x due to fires (voluntarily).  The second time, we took the Instant Pot with us (and the photo albums), it was scary!  Instead of eating out, we made one pot pasta in the hotel room.  It's SO EASY to throw a bunch of veggies, pasta, sauce, and water in there and press go.  And then, only one pot to clean (the hotel room had a fridge and a separate sink in the living space).
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: boarder42 on February 27, 2018, 10:39:23 AM
is an instant pot a slow cooker?

It's an electric pressure cooker.

But can also be used as a slow cooker.

and it can be used to culture things that need cultured like yogurt.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: rockstache on February 27, 2018, 11:08:52 AM
It's SO EASY to throw a bunch of veggies, pasta, sauce, and water in there and press go.

Can you please elaborate on this a bit? Do you add water? What veggies do you use and for how long do you cook?


ETA: @mm1970   


Also, thanks katsiki for the tip!
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: katsiki on February 27, 2018, 11:15:47 AM
I just discovered "steaming" vegetables in the instant pot.  Depending on the veggies and how you like them, it is 1 minute or 0 minutes on manual pressure.  Simply amazing.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: mm1970 on February 28, 2018, 11:48:25 AM
It's SO EASY to throw a bunch of veggies, pasta, sauce, and water in there and press go.

Can you please elaborate on this a bit? Do you add water? What veggies do you use and for how long do you cook?


ETA: @mm1970   


Also, thanks katsiki for the tip!

"one pot pasta"

1. Set instant pot to saute
2.  Add oil and veggies and saute.  Our favorites are onions, peppers.  Sometimes carrots or mushrooms (but my kids hate mushrooms).  When sauteed to your liking...press the warm button.
3.  Add 12 ounces of pasta (I currently use gluten free, but regular or whole wheat are fine too).  Add a 24-oz jar of marinara sauce, a 24-oz jar of water.  If you like, add a bunch of meatballs (frozen or refrigerated).  You could actually use meat too and saute with the veg, but we are going for easy here.
4.  Close it up and set to manual for 5 minutes
5.  When it's done, let it cool/ come down for 10 min.  If not fully released after 10 min, then use quick release.

At home I also add herbs sometimes.

Note: I used to make this "one pot pasta" in a skillet or pot on the stove, but figured - someone HAD to figure out how to do it in the instant pot.  And they had, and cleanup is a breeze!

At home I chop my own veggies but at a hotel you could just buy precut ...
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: rockstache on February 28, 2018, 01:50:17 PM
Thank you! That is going in the rotation for sure.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Acastus on February 28, 2018, 02:27:19 PM
It is a pressure cooker with a very good marketing campaign. I do not see the big deal.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: brute on February 28, 2018, 02:37:30 PM
It is a pressure cooker with a very good marketing campaign. I do not see the big deal.

It's cheap. It works for a lot more than a pressure cooker, eliminating the need for rice cookers, slow cookers, and pressure cookers all at once. It can hold a steady temp for yogurt fermentation with no effort. If you don't see what's appealing, you either aren't trying or aren't being intellectually honest with yourself.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Telecaster on February 28, 2018, 02:48:02 PM
Following because I'm considering one but it's kind of a hard sell for me.  I don't mind making rice, veggies, soups, etc on the stove.  I probably prefer it, actually.  (Part of that is deep suspicion that something could cook food hands-off as well as I can do myself).

We do make a roast and/or carnitas once or twice a month in the crock pot, which is 16 or 17 years old and kind of flaky about working... It will need a replacement at some point.  I also make stock in there.  But that's about all it gets used for.

My wife prefers to cook stuff over the stove as well.  But here's the thing about the pressure cooker, two things really:  Most stuff turns out better than on the stove or in the crock pot.  Just deeper, richer flavors. 

The other thing is that things that you wouldn't normally cook on a weeknight suddenly become possible.  So all your favorite crock pot stuff that you used to only do on the weekends you can do any time you like. 
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: krmit on February 28, 2018, 03:57:09 PM
I got one for Christmas - don't know if I'd have bought one on my own unless my crock pot died on me. I had never used a pressure cooker before and found this to be a good, easy, and safe intro to the world of pressure cooking.

Having said that, I find it really great for cooking meats from frozen, cooking rice and beans quickly, and fermenting yogurt. I would love to figure out how to use it for good chicken/vegetable stock- my first attempt turned out quite watery and diluted in flavor.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: mm1970 on February 28, 2018, 04:04:05 PM
It is a pressure cooker with a very good marketing campaign. I do not see the big deal.

Like a bread machine or a rice cooker, the beauty is in "set it and forget it".

Yes, I can make beans, or soup, or whatever in my stove top pressure cooker (and I do!)  On the weekends.

But mid-week, when I'm wrangling 2 kids after school and work, and baseball practice or swim lessons, and homework...it is much easier to toss the ingredients into this thing, set the timer, and go.  10 mins of prep time and dinner is done 30 minutes later. 

"You can make bread in the oven!"  Yes, if you have four hours to mix, let rise, knead, let rise, bake, and cool.  Or...you could use the bread machine and set it to be done when you get home.
"You can make rice on the stove!"  Yes, but an instant pot or rice cooker can cook it while you are off taking kids to soccer, and it's done when you get home.

The multi-functionality - I haven't tested the slow cooker portion of it yet, nor have I tested the yogurt function (I do have a yogurt maker!)  But as someone who cooks a lot, and used to use a regular pressure cooker regularly (on the weekends), this thing is magic.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Mariposa on March 01, 2018, 06:55:01 AM
I've had the Instant Pot for only a week, and I think it'll be good once I can figure out the proportions and settings that work for me. But I have to say there's a long learning curve, especially if you're picky about your food texture. Some of my Instant Pot "failures" so far:

1. Mac & cheese. I followed an online recipe, but I rarely cook a whole box of pasta. I dumped in what was left in the box and estimated the amount of water. After cooking, the macaroni was cooked all the way through, but it was sitting in a macaroni soup, so I had to drain it anyway. The noodles were too done for me: I like al dente pasta. And this was with quick release, so I'm going to try less cooking time. Also, the sautee function only has low / med / high; there's no fine control like on a stove. My toddler was distracting me, and I scalded the whole thing on medium. The cheese sauce started to separate out/curdle, and the pot was really hard to clean out afterwards. My husband & toddler were happy eating the results anyway; I guess I'm picky.

2. I cooked dried beans for a chili, and after cooking according to the instructions, the beans were cooked all the way through, but I found the skins kind of tough compared to starting from canned. This is with presoaking overnight. Again, this texture difference didn't bother my husband.

3. Tried warming leftovers in a pyrex dish with a glass lid on. Online instructions recommend 5 minutes on high pressure, but I found my leftovers only lukewarm afterwards. Pot-in-pot pressure cooking, apparently, is sensitive to the amount of water you have on the bottom of the pot (affects how long it takes to come to pressure, and different sources say either 1 or 2 cups minimum is safe) and the container you use (glass takes notoriously long to heat). So cooking times depend on your exact setup.

I think the Instant Pot would be good for long-cooking recipes with forgiving cooking times and people who aren't very picky about the texture of their food. For boiled eggs, for instance, I like the centers just a bit soft. I know to cook my grade A large eggs in rapidly boiling water on the stove for exactly 9:30 and put them in a cold bath. Despite instructions available online, I'm still going to have to figure out what works for me in the Instant Pot. If you like hard, hard-boiled eggs, or you don't care, you can just do a longer cooking time & it won't matter.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: boarder42 on March 01, 2018, 07:06:37 AM
I've had the Instant Pot for only a week, and I think it'll be good once I can figure out the proportions and settings that work for me. But I have to say there's a long learning curve, especially if you're picky about your food texture. Some of my Instant Pot "failures" so far:

1. Mac & cheese. I followed an online recipe, but I rarely cook a whole box of pasta. I dumped in what was left in the box and estimated the amount of water. After cooking, the macaroni was cooked all the way through, but it was sitting in a macaroni soup, so I had to drain it anyway. The noodles were too done for me: I like al dente pasta. And this was with quick release, so I'm going to try less cooking time. Also, the sautee function only has low / med / high; there's no fine control like on a stove. My toddler was distracting me, and I scalded the whole thing on medium. The cheese sauce started to separate out/curdle, and the pot was really hard to clean out afterwards. My husband & toddler were happy eating the results anyway; I guess I'm picky.

2. I cooked dried beans for a chili, and after cooking according to the instructions, the beans were cooked all the way through, but I found the skins kind of tough compared to starting from canned. This is with presoaking overnight. Again, this texture difference didn't bother my husband.

3. Tried warming leftovers in a pyrex dish with a glass lid on. Online instructions recommend 5 minutes on high pressure, but I found my leftovers only lukewarm afterwards. Pot-in-pot pressure cooking, apparently, is sensitive to the amount of water you have on the bottom of the pot (affects how long it takes to come to pressure, and different sources say either 1 or 2 cups minimum is safe) and the container you use (glass takes notoriously long to heat). So cooking times depend on your exact setup.

I think the Instant Pot would be good for long-cooking recipes with forgiving cooking times and people who aren't very picky about the texture of their food. For boiled eggs, for instance, I like the centers just a bit soft. I know to cook my grade A large eggs in rapidly boiling water on the stove for exactly 9:30 and put them in a cold bath. Despite instructions available online, I'm still going to have to figure out what works for me in the Instant Pot. If you like hard, hard-boiled eggs, or you don't care, you can just do a longer cooking time & it won't matter.

like coooking anything on any new appliance there is a learning curve to understand how to get what you want out of it.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: NextTime on March 01, 2018, 07:47:55 AM
It is a pressure cooker with a very good marketing campaign. I do not see the big deal.


Word of mouth is a slick marketing campaign?
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: boarder42 on March 01, 2018, 10:36:18 AM
It is a pressure cooker with a very good marketing campaign. I do not see the big deal.


Word of mouth is a slick marketing campaign?

yeah i do not have kids yet but we buy half a cow quite a bit and when i forget to thaw meat - just throw it in the pressure cooker and boom done in 1/20th the time it would take.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: elaine amj on March 01, 2018, 10:40:47 AM
I like mine. Bought it 2 years ago based on discussion here. Why I am still happy with it:

- replaced several devices. Got rid of my slow cooker and rice cooker. A good rice cooker would have cost as much or more than the Instant Pot (yes I know there are cheap ones. I've had a cheap one and an expensive one. There is a difference). Both devices were ancient and needed replacement so that went toward the IP purchase.

- stainless steel cooking. We have concerns about using nonstick pots. The IP is sturdy stainless steel - cooks great and washes beautifully.  I can even just grab the pot and heat it up on the stove if I want finer controls than the sauté function.

- soup and stock taste soooo much better using pressure cooking vs stove top. I do tend to cook stock in the IP for a long time - 2 hrs plus almost another hour to come up to pressure and to naturally release pressure. Also nice not to have to babysit. I could do this in a slow cooker for 6+hours but pressure cooking gives more depth of flavour IMO. Compared to stove top, u don't loose liquid either because it is sealed.

- I love it for things like ribs and pulled pork. I generally use it for cheap, tougher meat. Otherwise, it's just as easy for me to panfry/stirfry on the stove.

- I don't cook in the oven quite as much anymore. I love how tender and juicy meat gets in the IP.

- customer service is good. I had a problem last year and they were prompt and helpful. After verifying the issue, they were quick to send a replacement part.

I mostly use it for rice, soup, stock, yogurt, ribs, pulled pork, chicken. I've also read it is generally a healthier cooking method.

I do still use my stove top a lot. People have mentioned steaming but it seems to be the same amount of work for me to steam on the stove generally. I guess less air escapes?

Also like many people say, it takes longer than it seems. I always allow a decent length of time to come up to pressure and then to release the pressure.

I'm planning to bring it on our upcoming vacation to a vacation rental. Have to plan how we will use it.

Sent from my STH100-1 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Lady SA on March 01, 2018, 11:19:57 AM
We also have one, got it a few months ago. We sold our slow cooker, pressure cooker, and rice cooker on craigslist after getting it and are very happy we did. We got the 6 qt, but since we want to do more bulk meals, we are kind of wishing we had gotten the bigger one. ymmv, but the 6 qt is fine. I wouldn't get the 3 qt though, that's way too small.


Perks:
--like everyone else has said, super quick set-and-forget meals on weeknights, even when you forgot to thaw meat!

--stainless steel pot. Our rice cooker had nonstick coating and it had gotten scratched and gross and its hard to clean. Stainless steel you can scrub with steel wool to get any crusty bits off and you don't have to worry about damaging the product. Very easy to clean.

--My minimalist nature was very happy to have a single, multi-use appliance to replace 3 other ones, and it does the job as good or better than the niche appliances. I hate having junk in my house that get used very rarely or for only very specific, rare uses, so this was a big win for me, anyway. We barely ever used the old pressure cooker because it was such a pain, but when you need a pressure cooker you need a pressure cooker, so I had to glower at it sitting in the cupboard every day taking up my valuable space.


Cons:
--it is large and kind of bulky. But the loss of 3 whole other appliances more than makes up for it.

--I can't really think of anything else. idk, maybe your electricity bill goes up because you end up using it so much??


Meals we have made in it:
--numberous soups (pea soup, bean soup, beef and cabbage, wild rice soup, etc)
--rice, so much rice
--chickpeas to make homemade hummus
--curries
--different types of stew
--fajitas or pulled pork for burritos
--roast chicken
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: katsiki on March 01, 2018, 12:32:31 PM
Posting to add that I recently cooked frozen chicken breasts and frozen chicken drumsticks for the first time in the IP.  I have since done frozen breasts a couple of times.  I am amazed how easy this is and more amazed that a block of frozen chicken parts can taste so good a short while later.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: sliverstorm on March 02, 2018, 10:12:23 PM
2. I cooked dried beans for a chili, and after cooking according to the instructions, the beans were cooked all the way through, but I found the skins kind of tough compared to starting from canned. This is with presoaking overnight. Again, this texture difference didn't bother my husband.

ATK says the trick is to soak with salt, I think it was about a half tablespoon per quart of water. Not having carefully tested & compared yet, they do seem to be right.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Plugging Along on March 05, 2018, 02:11:28 PM
. I would love to figure out how to use it for good chicken/vegetable stock- my first attempt turned out quite watery and diluted in flavor.

For stock, I found that I need to use less water than I would on the stove because e water doesn’t evaporate very much, 

I use a little over 1/2 the amount of water.   I also make sure that the carcass  is broken down smaller so the water covers it.    If you use too much water, the other option is after it’s down pressure cooking, take off the lid, and boil it using the sauté function to evaporate some of the water.   
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: ketchup on March 05, 2018, 02:47:44 PM
. I would love to figure out how to use it for good chicken/vegetable stock- my first attempt turned out quite watery and diluted in flavor.

For stock, I found that I need to use less water than I would on the stove because e water doesn’t evaporate very much, 

I use a little over 1/2 the amount of water.   I also make sure that the carcass  is broken down smaller so the water covers it.    If you use too much water, the other option is after it’s down pressure cooking, take off the lid, and boil it using the sauté function to evaporate some of the water.
I tend to put as much frozen-together mess of bones and vegetable scraps in as I can fit, and then fill it with water to about the 75% full.  It's not scientific but it does the job.  And the resultant stock gels 9/10 times, 10/10 if I add chicken feet.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: 4alpacas on March 05, 2018, 04:21:23 PM
I would love to figure out how to use it for good chicken/vegetable stock- my first attempt turned out quite watery and diluted in flavor.
@krmit I roughly follow this recipe (https://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/03/make-instant-pot-chicken-stock/) based on whatever vegetable scraps and chicken bones I have around. I collected chicken bones and vegetable scraps in the freezer (have a ziploc for each) until I have enough for stock.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: krmit on March 05, 2018, 04:44:03 PM
@4alpacas, @ketchup, that's my usual stock MO as well. I tend to have a lot more veggie scraps than chicken bones - I'll try upping the meat and decreasing the water next time.

If anyone's really reaching for things to do with their Instant Pot... https://foodnservice.com/instant-pot-wine/

Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Greyweld on March 05, 2018, 04:48:09 PM
@4alpacas, @ketchup, that's my usual stock MO as well. I tend to have a lot more veggie scraps than chicken bones - I'll try upping the meat and decreasing the water next time.

If anyone's really reaching for things to do with their Instant Pot... https://foodnservice.com/instant-pot-wine/

WHAAAAAT? Okay, this I gotta try...
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: 4alpacas on March 05, 2018, 04:54:17 PM
@krmit If you have more vegetable scraps, why not make vegetable stock? (http://www.scratchmommy.com/instant-pot-vegetable-broth/)
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: ketchup on March 06, 2018, 08:06:15 AM
@4alpacas, @ketchup, that's my usual stock MO as well. I tend to have a lot more veggie scraps than chicken bones - I'll try upping the meat and decreasing the water next time.

If anyone's really reaching for things to do with their Instant Pot... https://foodnservice.com/instant-pot-wine/
Mine tends to be more like 80% bones and 20% veggie scraps.  Extra veggie scraps beyond that become their own vegetable stock.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: APowers on March 06, 2018, 09:43:54 PM
I think the Instant Pot would be good for long-cooking recipes with forgiving cooking times and people who aren't very picky about the texture of their food. For boiled eggs, for instance, I like the centers just a bit soft. I know to cook my grade A large eggs in rapidly boiling water on the stove for exactly 9:30 and put them in a cold bath. Despite instructions available online, I'm still going to have to figure out what works for me in the Instant Pot. If you like hard, hard-boiled eggs, or you don't care, you can just do a longer cooking time & it won't matter.

I have been through the hard-boiling learning curve. Here are my results. Everywhere online said 5min on high pressure, then 5min off pressure, then quick release and ice bath. That's fine if you like green rings around your yolks, and your eggs cooked as hard as possible. Instead, cook for 2min on high pressure, then 2-3 off pressure, then quick release and ice bath. That will give you the "just a bit soft in the center" yolks that you're looking for.

You're welcome. :)
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Dicey on March 06, 2018, 11:18:05 PM
PTF. I have an IP story, but I'm tired... I'll write about it tomorrow. Preview: bought 2, loved them, they both died,  Mfr. replaced both of them.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: 4alpacas on March 07, 2018, 09:15:19 AM
PTF. I have an IP story, but I'm tired... I'll write about it tomorrow. Preview: bought 2, loved them, they both died,  Mfr. replaced both of them.
@Dicey I look forward to your IP death stories.  I've been using my IP several times a week for a little over a year, and I don't know what I would do without it.  I'm so lazy when it comes to cooking, so the set it and forget it feature is my favorite!
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: BuildingmyFIRE on March 29, 2018, 07:33:03 AM
OP Update: I got the Instant Pot.  Made a few dishes from an Instant Pot approved cookbook by Coco Morante, all of which turned out great (including a recipe for a whole chicken with gravy).  Also made mac and cheese from an internet recipe which was a disaster (I should have checked the reviews, most of which were from people who liked the photo and the idea of the recipe but who had not actually tried it). 

I'm looking forward to making yogurt in it and getting more adventurous from there!
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: GuitarStv on March 29, 2018, 08:03:16 AM
My understanding is that it's a crock pot that costs more and cooks faster.  Based on the way that we use our crock pot, I don't see much benefit in our situation.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: BuildingmyFIRE on March 29, 2018, 08:17:47 AM
GuitarStv:  I cooked a whole chicken in the Instant Pot -- and prepared gravy -- in less than an hour (pressurized cook time for the chicken was 20 minutes).  It is a weeknight dinner time game changer. 
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: GuitarStv on March 29, 2018, 08:43:53 AM
GuitarStv:  I cooked a whole chicken in the Instant Pot -- and prepared gravy -- in less than an hour (pressurized cook time for the chicken was 20 minutes).  It is a weeknight dinner time game changer.

I cooked a whole chicken in my crock pot (and prepared gravy) last week.  It took me about 20 minutes to put everything in the crock pot in the morning, and it was done when I got home in the evening.  Not much of a game changer if you have the habit of planning things in advance.  :P
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: Dicey on March 29, 2018, 08:52:53 AM
GuitarStv:  I cooked a whole chicken in the Instant Pot -- and prepared gravy -- in less than an hour (pressurized cook time for the chicken was 20 minutes).  It is a weeknight dinner time game changer.

I cooked a whole chicken in my crock pot (and prepared gravy) last week.  It took me about 20 minutes to put everything in the crock pot in the morning, and it was done when I got home in the evening.  Not much of a game changer if you have the habit of planning things in advance.  :P
I totally dig the brown/saute feature of the IP, plus the shorter elapsed time options. I'm a pantry principle cook. I appreciate the flexibility of the IP when I change my mind about what to prepare for dinner.

And thanks for reviving this thread. I owe y'all an IP update. Soon.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: mm1970 on March 29, 2018, 10:14:31 AM
My understanding is that it's a crock pot that costs more and cooks faster.  Based on the way that we use our crock pot, I don't see much benefit in our situation.
I've never used the crockpot function, I use the pressure cooker function, and it's awesome.

I generally use it for things that don't translate well to a crockpot.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: NextTime on March 29, 2018, 10:23:16 AM
My understanding is that it's a crock pot that costs more and cooks faster.  Based on the way that we use our crock pot, I don't see much benefit in our situation.


Your understanding is incorrect. It's an electric pressure cooker that can also be used as a crockpot, rice cooker, and other things.

If you see no benefit then don't buy it. I see no reason why you feel the need to argue with other people when they are completely satisfied with it.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: 4alpacas on March 29, 2018, 04:22:11 PM
GuitarStv:  I cooked a whole chicken in the Instant Pot -- and prepared gravy -- in less than an hour (pressurized cook time for the chicken was 20 minutes).  It is a weeknight dinner time game changer.

I cooked a whole chicken in my crock pot (and prepared gravy) last week.  It took me about 20 minutes to put everything in the crock pot in the morning, and it was done when I got home in the evening. Not much of a game changer if you have the habit of planning things in advance.  :P
And you've summed up why I love mine! :)
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: csprof on March 29, 2018, 07:45:32 PM
My understanding is that it's a crock pot that costs more and cooks faster.  Based on the way that we use our crock pot, I don't see much benefit in our situation.


Your understanding is incorrect. It's an electric pressure cooker that can also be used as a crockpot, rice cooker, and other things.

If you see no benefit then don't buy it. I see no reason why you feel the need to argue with other people when they are completely satisfied with it.

+this.  Compared to my old (on-stove) pressure cooker, my instant pot:
  - Doesn't need me to be in the same room while I'm pressure cooking;
  - Doesn't need me to be around to turn it off at the right time;
  - Has a yogurt mode that's nice for ferment-y things.  This is particularly useful in the winter because someone keeps his house at a temperature too low for things to ferment well.

Using the IP instead of my old pressure cooker is a very nice time-saver.  I'm completely happy with it.  And I mostly use it for simple stuff for which the old pressure cooker and rice cookers that it replaced were good at -- rice, beans, etc.  The increased flexibility is great.

(I also like that it's electric and decently insulated -- I get extra gas stove space, but it remains energy-efficient.  And I don't have to run the hood vent, which is better for both heating and AC performance.)

I love to cook, cook a lot, and am very philosophically opposed to most kitchen gadgets ("unitaskers", as Alton Brown would put it).  But I'm very glad I got an IP.  I use it weekly.
Title: Re: Educate me on the Instant Pot
Post by: NextTime on March 31, 2018, 11:41:00 AM
Well, hams are sold out all over town, so I’ll be making this for Easter dinner tomorrow.

https://www.lecremedelacrumb.com/instant-pot-pot-roast-potatoes/

Less than 2 hours.